Some Interesting Facts about the Tidal Basin

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Apart from the rich history, Washington DC is also famous for the beautiful Tidal Basin, which offers an unbelievable sight of cherry blossoms in every corner during the spring season. To witness this magical sight, millions of people from every corner of the world visit this place during their Washington DC tours. Below are some interesting and enlightening facts about the Tidal Basin that most of you will be unaware of.

Topography and History

The Tidal Basin that extends in an area of nearly 107 acres is approximately 10 feet deep. This is a partially manmade reservoir and is located in between the Washington Channel and the Potomac River. The original name of the Tidal Basin was the ‘Twining Lake’, which was named after William Johnson Twining, the first engineer commissioner of Washington DC.


The construction of the Tidal Basin was started in 1882 in order to address the devastating flood that affected many regions of Washington DC in 1881. The construction of this reservoir was finally completed in 1897. The reservoir was designed in such a way to control the flush of water from the Potomac River and Washington channel in order to prevent the floods.

Lincoln Reflecting Pool

The water from the Tidal Basin is used to keep the water levels in the Lincoln Reflecting Pool intact. This was a new feature, which was added in 2012 after the extensive renovation of the pool. This is possible only because a huge 250 million gallons of water is flushed out from the Potomac River to the Tidal Basin through the inlet pipes, twice a day.

Bathing Beach

There was a bathing beach in the Tidal Basin, which was one of the famous spots in Washington. This bathing beach was closed in 1925 due to various reasons. One of those reasons was that the beach was isolated and the funding for a second beach was rejected by the Senate in February 1925. Due to this, the Congress decided to shut down all the bathing beaches in the Tidal Basin permanently. The buildings over here were demolished and the shores were converted to the current Tidal Basin.

Things to See

You can stroll through the footpath, which spans 2.1 miles, around the Tidal Basin. You can enjoy the charismatic lake and the magical cherry blossoms in every nook and cranny. You can also see the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, John Paul Jones Memorial, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, and the George Mason Memorial on the way.

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